Floor/Track vs Hand/Mini Pump
There are so many pumps out there to chose from but the first thing to be aware of is that pumps come in three categories.
- Floor or track pumps are for at home use. These pumps are the most efficient and easiest way of pumping up your tyres because they give you high volumes of air and allow you to use your body weight by pushing and pulling on a T shaped handle. A good floor pump will have a gauge making your tyre pressure more accurate.
- Mini or Hand pumps are all about portability and are a really important part of any bike tool kit that you carry.
- Mini Floor Pumps – these types of pumps are relatively new to the market and are a cross between the two categories above. They are large for a mini pump and will have a T handle that folds out and a foot that flicks down so they can be used like a floor pump yet carried like a mini pump.
Ease of attachment
There are several different ways of joining a pump to a bike tyre…to learn all about this see Bike Tools – Bike Pump which gives a really good explanation of each method. Pumps are constantly being updated by companies and are getting easier to use. We recommend buying a pump with the easiest method which is a brilliant screw on self adapting attachment – compatible with any valve. We also think a flexible hose allows for easier attachment – the longer the better on a floor pump.
Compatibility to valves
Your pump must be compatible with the type of valve you have on your bike. You will have either a Schrader or a Presta valve. These valves are quite different so your pump needs to self adapt or have a mechanism to switch between valves especially if you have a range of bikes in your house which all use differing valves. Read through How to Buy a Bike Tube to find a section on bike valves.
The wider the barrel the more air that will flow into your tyre with every pump. As Mini pumps get smaller they get harder to use, so while you gain in portability and lightweight features, you lose in pumping power. This means a lot more pumping action and if it is a cheaper hand pump it will be harder to push closed – this can make pumping up a tyre a physically challenging exercise.
Not all pumps have the ability to pump up high pressure tyres. It is quite common for the PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) rating to be 80-90 on a pump. This is fine for mountain bike riders as the top pressure in most mountain bike tyres is 50-60PSI. If you ride skinner tyres with higher pressure you will need a pump that has a higher PSI rating, look for 120 or above. For help with PSI see our Pumping Up a Bike Tyre video.
What’s it made from?
This is where price comes into play especially for floor pumps. The best quality pumps will be made from alloy, the worst quality, plastic. A floor pump is worth investing in if you use your bike often or have a house full of bikes. If you buy a high quality floor pump it will last a lifetime. Some companies like BlackBurn, have lifetime guarantees on their floor pumps.
How to carry a Hand/Mini Pump
The smallest mini pumps are great for tucking in your riding jersey pocket while slightly larger versions will need a bag or to be attached to your bike. Every carrying method has its advantages & disadvantages it all depends on the type of riding you are doing and how long you are riding for. At goRide we recommend carrying tools on the bike rather than on your body, if possible. For more information on Tool Carrying Options click here.
Make your purchase a success…
Learn how to use your pump
Once you have your bike pump take the time to learn how to use it. A little bit of time invested at this stage will help you when you first go to use it. Know what the features are and the best way to use them.
Keep it safe & clean it
Store your pump in a safe place away from any risk of damage. Your pump has moving parts so to perform at its best you will need to give it a clean then lubricate it.